San Diego Soliloquies

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Hugh Hewitt is dummmm

From today's 06:54am entry

    Be sure to vote in Patrick Ruffini's August straw poll. Getting a statistically significant sampling of internet users would provide a very interesting set if data points.

Freedom of speech means, among other things, you can use whatever words you like, even make up your own. But let me explain something to Hugh, and maybe some folks will learn something.

"Statistically significant sampling" as used by people who were taught and understand statistics, implies that you are creating a system whereby you create a random sample out of a population that can be reasonably (and mathematically) proven to represent that population. For example, if you were able to create a list of names and phone numbers of everyone in the united states, then you randomly chose 1,500 names from that list, you would have a statistically significant sample. Of people who owned telephones in the United States. So do you see Hugh's problem? He is asking his readers, which are an inherent minority of all internet users, to go and vote, and thus represent all internet users. So a small self-selected group of conservatives will be used in place of a randomly generated population of users.

Ah, you say, you're just another liberal ragging on the ignorance of an individual conservatism. Yep, I am. This particular conservative has stood up in court, and in testimony before the House of Representatives, to argue about whether the Endangered Species Act is effective or even good law (don't worry, he's argued for and against both sides. It only matters who's paying). He's paid to have an opinion. He's apparently not paid enough to actually educate himself to support that opinion with science.

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